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Paying It Forward

We all live in a world where it's easy to hide behind the relative anonymity of a computer screen and keyboard which, unfortunately, brings out the worst in some people. After reading a troll-ish response to someone in an online photography forum recently, I have a few things to say.
I think it's safe to say with 100% certainty, that there is not one professional well-known photographer who at some point didn't start from the beginning. Yes, some people may be born with a more innate talent than others, but they still have to practice their craft. Practice. Fail. Practice. Fail. Practice, practice, practice. One day the technique is perfected, and you begin to see improvement. Work hard to be the best you can be. Whatever your craft or profession. In terms of photography, not one of us picks up a camera one day and becomes a world-famous photographer the next. We all have to start somewhere: asking questions, learning from other photographers, reading books, watching videos…
Recent posts

Where Do You Draw the Line on Image Alteration?

This article from Digital Photography School raises a great question: Where do you draw the line on image alteration? There are many gray areas that surround this debate, and it seems fairly subjective for each photographer. Some photographers go crazy with overdone HDR processing (something that personally makes me cringe, but that's a topic for another discussion). Some photographers enhance color saturation. Some photographers crop or clone out distracting details. Obviously, photojournalists are quite different from landscape photographers, and are held to a specific code of ethics that may not apply to the rest of us. A photojournalist who digitally manipulates a photo of a scene can create an entirely different view of an event they're covering. Some interesting examples and discussion are available here.
While I have occasionally done some overdone HDR for a specific purpose, it's rare that I do that. However, one edit that I do frequently do is cloning out power lin…

6 Things I Love About Photography

I enjoy capturing something in a moment that will never be the same again. The subject may remain, but the way it looks at this particular moment, will never be exactly the same in the future. I've learned over the years that if something catches my attention, make time to take the photo then. Don't wait. I've discovered that an interesting dilapidated building may get torn down. Or access to it may change. Nature may take over, obstructing the view with weeds. An engaging bit of graffiti may be painted over.

I take joy in doing something that has been a part of my life since I was a kid.
When I was growing up, my parents had a darkroom in the basement. I spent many afternoons hanging out with my dad, talking with him and watching him develop photos. Seeing a photo magically appear on the paper after emerging from its chemical bath fascinated me. I'm very fortunate to have a close relationship with my parents and we still enjoy taking photos together - even today when w…

Do Schools Teach Students About Photo Usage and Copyright Infringement?

I know I've discussed the issue of copyright infringement and stolen photos before, but last week I had a few other instances occur so I thought this would be a good time to discuss it again. Here's what happened last week:

I did an online search for my most-often-stolen photo (not the one pictured here) and sure enough: three more instances of the same photo pilfered without my permission. One website was a high school blog. Another site was a college website (their student online newspaper, actually) and the third was a news/entertainment-type site.

I sent all three infringers my standard DMCA takedown request letter via email. In the email I explained that I am the copyright owner on the photo, they are committing copyright infringement by using the photo without my written permission and provided links to the photo on my website. Before taking further action, I requested that they either remove the photo immediately or send payment - a very reasonable fee for one-time dig…

Hiking in Red River Gorge

As I mentioned in my previous post, Carrick and I (accompanied by our dog) rented a cabin in Red River Gorge for Carrick's birthday. We spent several hours hiking on both Friday and Saturday. We were told at the cabin rental office that dogs are not allowed on the trails in the Natural Bridge State Park, so we headed instead to RRG.

Our cabin was a short drive up U.S. Highway 715 to the trails. (Here's a map of the area.) Our first stop was the 1.5-mile Rock Bridge Arch trail, three miles down a well-maintained gravel road (National Forest Road 24). As we neared the arch, we passed a nice creek and waterfall running next to the trail. Of course I spent 10 or 15 minutes taking some photos. Thanks to my new waterproof hiking boots, I was able to walk partway out into the very shallow creek to get the photos I wanted. After completing this loop trail, we got back in the car to find our next destination. We had a great guidebook with us called "Hiking Kentucky's Red Rive…

Photos and Footprints

"Take only photos. Leave only footprints." - Unknown

This quote has crossed my mind often this weekend as my partner and I have spent the weekend hiking in the Red River Gorge area in the Daniel Boone National Forest. This is about two hours from home, but it's someplace we've not really explored yet (even though we've lived in Kentucky for 12 years now), so it seemed like a good place to go to celebrate her birthday. Our dog loves to hike with us, so we brought her along too. (Kitty stayed home with the house-sitter). We spent about three hours hiking each of the last two days. I had planned to post several photos yesterday, but discovered I left my card reader at home, so photos and a summary of the trails will have to wait until I get back.

I've discovered a few things:
Our 9-year-old dog has more energy than I do.What the forest service people refer to as an "easy" hike, is not necessarily easy.Hiking downhill is just as difficult as hiking uph…

Favorite Quotes

Since my high school days (some 26+ years ago), I've collected quotes I find meaningful. Quotes about all sorts of topics. Before the days of smartphones and awesome apps such as Evernote, I used to write the quotes in blank journals. I've filled quite a few of them over the years. Here are a few of my favorites:

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadquate, I shall be content with silence." - Ansel Adams
***  "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." - Pablo Picasso
***  "The limitation in your photography are in yourself." - Ernst Haas
***  "I've learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou 
*** Do you have a favorite quote that holds a special meaning for you? If so, share it in the comments below.